The Royal Norwegian Order of St. Olav (Norwegian: Den Kongelige Norske St. Olavs Orden; or Sanct Olafs Orden, the old Norwegian name) is a Norwegian order of chivalry that was instituted by King Oscar I of Norway and Sweden on August 21, 1847, as a distinctly Norwegian order. It is named after King Olav II, known for posterity as St. Olav. Nobility was abolished in Norway in 1821. Just before the union with Sweden was dissolved in 1905, the Order of the Norwegian Lion was instituted in 1904 by King Oscar II, but it was not awarded by his successor Haakon VII. The Order of St. Olav thus became the kingdom's only order of chivalry for the next 80 years. The Grand Master of the order is the reigning monarch of Norway. It is awarded to individuals as a reward for remarkable accomplishments on behalf of the country and humanity. Since 1985, the order has only been conferred upon Norwegian citizens, though foreign heads of state and royals are awarded the order as a matter of courtesy.
The King awards the order upon the recommendation of a six-member commission, consisting of a chancellor, vice chancellor, the court treasurer, and one representative from the southern, central, and northern parts of Norway. The prime minister nominates the members of the commission, and the monarch approves them. Nominations for the award are directed at the commission through the county mayor.
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